This piece warrants an update today, not because there are new news, but because someone far more important than yours truly has said something significant about it.
In a pre-interview ahead of an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, June 7th, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said the following:
Robert Reich Still Sees No ‘Convincing Explanation’ on Hillary Clinton Email
Robert Reich, who served during the administration of former President Bill Clinton as the secretary of labor, will appear on “This Week Sunday morning. Before his appearance, we asked him five questions about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the broader 2016 race for president.
4. The number of people, according to a new ABC News-Washington Post poll, who see Hillary Clinton as trustworthy has dropped in recent months. Why do you think this is?
RR: She hasn’t yet given a convincing explanation for why she used a private email account when she was secretary of state, and why she and her husband have made so many speeches for hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop from special interests that presumably want something in return. In other words, she needs to be more open and transparent about everything.
Mrs. Clinton’s defenders are now coming up with excuses that are baffling given the fact that she is on record and on video in 2007, criticizing Republicans who engaged in the very same behavior with her “now people feel invisible; our constitution is being shredded” comments directed at Karl Rove and the RNC (video included in the segment below).
It is inconceivable that Mrs. Clinton didn’t understand the implications of using her own email account rather than a government-issued one when she took over at State. Who among us uses their personal email account when starting a new job? Just as inconceivable is the notion that she didn’t see this flap coming, or that she or members of her team wouldn’t be ready to explain how this isn’t hypocritical. While few Republicans have a clean record of transparency when it comes to email, she did criticize them for it. How is her behavior not a “shredding of our constitution” by her own standards?
Setting aside the ethics of the matter for a moment, why isn’t her team better prepared to handle the fallout? Is a late night tweet appropriate? It seems as if we are again treated to the same sloppy prep work we saw during the democratic primary of 2007.
On Thursday, March 5, Michael Schmidt of the New York Times appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews on MSNBC, As someone who isn’t a big fan of Matthews, I have to commend him on a most even-handed thorough examination of the aspects of this issue with two excellent reporters. Here is the segment:
Hillary Clinton responds to email inquiries
Curated from MSNBC.com
Supplemental reading: Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic has an excellent piece: A Hillary Clinton Email That The State Department Could Not Find:
New evidence shows some messages might have been lost because the former secretary of state used a private account to conduct state business.
Hillary Clinton supporters have defended her use of a private email account to conduct official State Department business by arguing that she emailed colleagues at their government addresses, ensuring that a copy of the correspondence would be retained on government servers and available to archivists. As it turns out, some aides to Hillary Clinton also used private email addresses. But even if Team Hillary’s initial claim had held together, it wouldn’t matter. Public records laws encompass not just correspondence with other government employees but also emails with third parties about government business.
That’s why a particular email flagged by J.K. Trotter is important. Back in 2013, a hacker secured access to the private email account of Sidney Blumenthal, a staffer in Bill Clinton’s White House. The hacker sent screenshots of his inbox to various news outlets, including Gawker. “According to those screenshots, Blumenthal was regularly sending Clinton what appeared to be freelance intelligence reports—including information and advice about the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya—all of which clearly fell under the rubric of official State Department business,” Trotter writes. “At the time, Gawker noted that Clinton’s apparent use of the non-official account likely violated federal regulations governing records retention, and sent inquiries directly to Clinton and to the White House asking if messages to the clintonemail.com address were being retained.”